Complete gluten guide: everything you should know

We have heard a lot about gluten. However, there are several myths about him. Gluten is a set of proteins that cereals and grains and all the products derived from them possess. If you are not celiac, this is what you should know about gluten.

What is gluten

As we already mentioned, gluten is a protein present in various cereals such as rye, barley, wheat and oats. In fact, an immense variety of pastry products, jams and drinks have gluten in their composition. Therefore, it could be said that gluten is present in almost all types of food.

Now, most of us have known of people who are gluten intolerant. Some of them, when consuming foods that have it, experience certain unwanted and annoying reactions. But countless people can consume it without any problem, and yet they have decided to eliminate it from their diet.

How gluten is formed

It is formed when wheat flour is mixed with water. The water transforms the proteins present in the flours, giving rise to gluten. In the process of removing and kneading the flour, the water causes the gluten proteins to produce a dough with elastic characteristics. When salt is added, it contributes greatly to reinforcing that kind of elastic mesh that gives rise to gluten.

Gluten properties

Viscoelastic properties: This property gives the doughs of various flours that elasticity when kneaded. It also provides support and consistency to various beverages, jams and pastry products.

Nutritional properties: gluten is rich in minerals, especially iron. Its consumption favors the production of red blood cells in the body, thus helping to combat iron deficiency anemia. Although gluten provides very few amino acids and proteins, it is an easily digestible food and helps intestinal transit.

Vegans use it to make seitan, a vegan substitute for meat and chicken, to contribute to the supply of iron. It is widely used in the gastronomy of all countries: cakes, breads, pastas, shakes and beers. It is also used in the production of cheeses, sausages, preparation of dried fruit and sweets.

Functional properties: the viscosity and elasticity of gluten has been used in pharmaceuticals and alloys to make biodegradable packaging. It has also been used in the cosmetic area in the preparation of shampoos, lipsticks and creams.

Foods containing gluten

Foods containing gluten are derived from barley, wheat, rye and oats in a smaller proportion and not directly, but because they are normally processed in places where gluten-containing foods are processed.

People with intolerance cannot consume the products that these cereals include in their manufacture. Among them the bread, cookies, biscuits and all the pastry products. Pasta and noodles, beers, treats, hot dog, pizza, some cheeses, ketchup, mayonnaise, wheat germ, rye bread, oatmeal-based drinks, bulgur, soy sauce, deli meats, cereal bars, white sauces and dressings manufactured.

Also, there are some syrups and medicines, dehydrated soups and even the host that is given in the Catholic Church.

Effects of gluten on the body

The effects of gluten on the human body will depend on how the body reacts to this substance. It is true that for people intolerant to gluten its consumption can trigger a series of undesirable and even debilitating symptoms.

For the large number of people who are not intolerant to gluten, it performs well in a healthy diet. And that is the most normal, since only 1% of the planet's inhabitants are celiac.

In an organism that does tolerate it, gluten has benefits in intestinal health since it has prebiotic properties. These will provide food for the "good" bacteria that make up the intestinal flora, helping to maintain healthy intestinal flora and prevent colon cancer. Likewise, its consumption should be moderate.

Let's see the next one video about the effects of gluten on the intestines and how does it cause autoimmune diseases:

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Excerpt from video taken from the mini series "Transcendence".
Catch the first episode for free on now!

Some disorders caused by gluten

Celiac disease

Celiac disease is an autoimmune disorder that appears when the antibodies present in the intestine react to the action of gluten, causing the body's own cells to attack the internal lining of the intestine.

When the intestine is severely damaged, it does not adequately absorb the nutrients that reach it. This severely affects the absorption of calcium and iron, causing many discomforts and serious long-term complications, such as anemia and osteoporosis. Even if the necessary nutritional corrections are not made, cancer could occur in any area of ​​the digestive system, such as the colon and rectum.

How is celiac disease diagnosed?

Through a blood test, celiacs who have been consuming gluten in their diet can test positive for antibodies that help diagnose the disease. But if there are symptoms in people who completely abstain from gluten, a biopsy will be necessary to establish a diagnosis.

Celiac disease does not have a definitive cure. It can only be controlled by permanently eliminating the consumption of gluten from the diet. These are the symptoms that people with celiac disease experience, especially when they consume a food that contains gluten.


– They experience fatigue or tiredness often.

– Abdominal pain of strong intensity.

– abdominal inflammation

– Nausea and vomiting.

– Nutritional deficiencies.

– Frequent liquid stools or diarrhea.

– Constipation or constipation.

– Slimming or loss of weight very evident.

Other symptoms that gluten intolerant people have experienced have to do with skin conditions. Sometimes there is a sensitivity to the skin manifested by itching and very painful blistering pustules called dermatitis herpetiformis. This skin rash usually appears on the elbows, knees, shoulders and even on the face.


Some individuals experience gluten sensitivity, but are not necessarily celiac. Carrying out antibody tests does not reveal the autoimmune response that characterizes people with celiac disease.

It can be a sensitivity that simply disappears by decreasing or eliminating gluten from your diet. But there are no tests that determine that you are sensitive to gluten without being celiac. Now, antibody and biopsy tests can determine that the person does not have the autoimmune disorder known as celiac disease.

Perhaps this sensitivity that manifests itself when consuming gluten is simply an allergic reaction to wheat.

Gluten allergies

Consumption of wheat and barley products often manifest with skin reactions, hives, rhinitis, and in severe cases, anaphylactic shock. It is more common in children and usually disappears in the adult stage. The difference with sensitivity or celiac disease is that a gluten allergy will react even when gluten has not reached your intestine, whereas people with gluten intolerance normally need to ingest it.

Other gluten-related autoimmune diseases

– Rheumatoid arthritis

– Hashimoto syndrome

– Chron's disease

– Fibromyalgia

– And others

Why do people without gluten intolerance eliminate it from their diet?

People with celiac disease cannot consume anything that contains wheat, oats, barley, and rye, the TACCs. And it is that if they consumed it, their own life would be at risk. But what is happening that more and more people are abstaining from consuming foods with gluten?

Although only 1% of the world's population is celiac, there is 30% who have completely eliminated gluten from their diet. These people have long believed that if we do without gluten there is no problem, that it is not harmful not to consume it.

On the other hand, in recent studies by some universities and other medical institutions have shown that this theory is wrong. So if you are not celiac, it is convenient to analyze the information that we leave you in this article about gluten.

What some studies say

Many people think that the consumption of gluten and its function in the body is not beneficial for anyone, not even for those without celiac disease.

In this sense, The National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) published a study in 2014, indicating: "The existing evidence of potential harm from a gluten-free diet, includes possible nutritional deficiencies, financial costs and negative psychosocial implications As with other dietary interventions, this diet is a rapidly evolving topic, and additional information is needed to guide a full discussion between patients considering a GFD and their healthcare providers. "

Furthermore, Harvard University published a paper in 2017 reporting that healthy people who do not consume gluten with their diet are more likely to develop diabetes and heart problems, due to the potential reduction in consumption of whole grains.

A similar study was conducted by The American Heart Association's Epidemiology and Prevention / Lifestyle and Cardiometabolic Health Scientific Sessions, also in 2017, reaching the same conclusions.


Does gluten make you fat?

This idea is completely false. What makes you fat is the amount of carbohydrates and sugars that are usually added to foods with gluten.

Is gluten bad?

Studies show that gluten only causes problems for intolerant people. However, the vast majority of wheat consumed today is markedly deficient in nutritional quality when compared to wheat of the past. Here is one of the studies that shows this.

Since industrialization, everything has changed. From the way we grow it, the way we process it, and the way we eat it. This has happened in two different "technological revolutions". The first was in milling, the second in cultivation and agriculture. Both have had a profound effect, but most people have no idea.

What does the term mean gluten free?

The Food and Drug Federation (FDA) since 2014 has set a limit for the gluten content in foods. This limit was 20 parts per million, (ppm), when the presence of gluten in some foods is inevitable.

Due to the increase in people with celiac disease, manufacturers are required to identify their products with this label. The term gluten free means gluten ’gluten free’ ’or gluten free.

So bigots can rest easy when these labels appear on the food they buy. This is in accordance with the standard imposed by the FDA to protect your health.

So should I consume it or not?

The results of the research confirm the importance of following a balanced diet. They also remind us that it is important to consult a nutrition specialist, when we intend to modify our diet.

Wheat is not only one of the most common foods in the world, but also one of the most controversial. People who are gluten intolerant should eliminate it from their diet completely.

However, moderate consumption of fiber-rich whole wheat can be healthy for those who tolerate it, as it can improve digestion, help prevent colon cancer, some heart conditions and diabetes.

Ultimately, if you enjoy breads, baked goods, and other wheat products in moderation, this ubiquitous grain is unlikely to harm your health.

You may also like:

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Transcendence. This fascinating 5-episode mini series addresses some of the greatest challenges of our time and explores the current state of our physical, emotional and mental health.

In Episode One, "What's in our food?", You will learn how modern wheat is altering the gut and eliciting an immune response, which can lead to autoimmune diseases such as: rheumatoid arthritis, Hashimoto's thyroiditis, Crohn's disease, celiac disease. , fibromyalgia, eczema, and more.

As a Bioguia reader, you can see "What's in our food?" Free at!


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US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health

Harvard Health Publishing

American Heart Association